DPharm 2016 – Clinical Research, Is there an app for that?

Written by Patrick Maloney, Director Business Development

There was a time when the term ‘app’ referred to very simple and, often less powerful version of a full web or PC based ‘application’ but those days are long gone. Today, you can order a pizza to be delivered to your friend’s house, hail a ride to meet it there, and have your friend split the bill… all from the comfort of your smart phone or tablet. Many apps today actually outperform their ‘full’ version counterparts by utilizing powerful features found in our mobile devices like GPS and cameras. 

We’ve embraced these technologies in our everyday lives but our industry is still lagging behind. As usual, the DPharm: Disruptive Innovations to Advance Clinical Trials conference set out to challenge the status quo and highlight sponsors and vendors who are ready to make a change. 

Two themes seemed to keep coming up in sessions and casual conversations. The first being that data – whether it be ‘big’ or not – needs to be captured and shared in real time. Would anyone ever write the rough draft of an email on paper and then transcribe it into Outlook? No? Then why do we find most sites still record data on paper before transcribing into EDC? Why do many trial subjects still use paper diaries? The technology exists where this information can be recorded, cleaned, and analyzed in real-time. No more paper. No more waiting. This will shorten study timelines, which gets important new medicines to patients who need it both faster and more affordably.   

The second theme is that clinical research must have a greater focus on the needs of patients and that technology can help make clinical trials more patient-centric. Historical data can be analyzed to design studies that will be more attractive to potential patients. We can reimburse and compensate patients in real-time so there are no out of pocket costs to travel to or participate in studies. When we put patients first we increase participation and adherence, leading to better results and reduced costs and timelines. 

DPharm 2016 helped show that there IS an app for clinical research. In fact there’s a lot of them. This year we saw apps that can use facial recognition - via a smartphone camera - to verify that a patient has properly taken study medication and then use a separate app to report any outcomes via their phone or tablet. We saw apps that remind subjects to attend office visits where study teams use their own app to enter study data directly into the clinical database where it was then monitored remotely by yet another app.    Cmed was happy to be participating in the discussion as we continue to see rapid adoption of encapsia™; a new generation Clinical Data Suite. encapsia® streamlines the capture, management and reporting of clinical data beyond what is currently possible, producing high quality data rapidly, while saving customers time and money.

The technology is there. The FDA is ready. It’s time to modernize clinical research!